District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange
I. INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (HBX) is established under Title I of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Therefore HBX is subject to section 1557 of the ACA (“section 1557”) and implementing regulations at 45 C.F.R §92.1 et seq. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities.
Pursuant to the HBX Compliance Policies and Procedures, which, in part, clarify HBX’s policy to ensure that HBX employees and leadership work to ensure compliance throughout HBX, the purpose of this statement is to clarify HBX’s commitment to ensuring equal treatment with respect to its health programs and activities, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. This statement also documents the designation of the 1557 coordinators, who are responsible for coordinating compliance efforts under Section 1557. Finally, this statement documents the grievance procedure established pursuant to Section 1557.
II. POLICY STATEMENT
- It is the policy of HBX to ensure that all HBX health programs and activities are carried out in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including, but not limited to, sexual orientation and gender identity), age, or disability. HBX does not exclude people or treat them differently because of any of these protected traits.
- It is the policy of HBX to provide free support and services to people with disability to communicate effectively.
- It is the policy of HBX to provide free language access services to people whose primary language is not English.
III. GREIVANCE PROCESS
- Any individual participating in, or seeking to participate in, HBX health programs or activities, can file a grievance if the individual believes HBX has failed to provide required services or discriminated in another way on the basis of a protected class.
- A grievance must be filed within 60 days of the date the individual became aware of the alleged discriminatory action.
- Grievances must be in writing and can be filed in person, by mail, fax, or email with Jennifer Libster, Associate General Counsel, D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, 1225 Eye Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20005, (202) 715-7576, TTY: 711, [email protected]; Fax: (202) 730-1658.
- Grievances must be in writing, contain the name and address of the person filing it, and state the problem or action alleged to be discriminatory and the remedy or relief sought. The HBX 1557 Coordinator will provide assistance filing a grievance upon request.
- The Section 1557 Coordinator (or her/his designee) will conduct an investigation of any complaints received. This investigation may be informal, but it will be thorough, affording all interested persons an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint. The Section 1557 Coordinator will maintain the files and records of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority relating to such grievances. To the extent possible, and in accordance with applicable law, the Section 1557 Coordinator will take appropriate steps to preserve the confidentiality of files and records relating to grievances and will share them only with those who have a need to know.
- The Section 1557 Coordinator will issue a written decision on the grievance, based on a preponderance of the evidence, no later than 30 days after its filing, including a notice to the complainant of their right to pursue further administrative or legal remedies.
- The availability and use of this grievance procedure does not prevent a person from pursuing other legal or administrative remedies, including filing a complaint of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in court or with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. A person can file a complaint of discrimination electronically through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal, which is available at: https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/portal/lobby.jsf, or by mail or phone at:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
- The HBX Executive Director or General Counsel will appoint the 1557 Coordinator(s).
- The 1557 Coordinator will monitor compliance with this policy and, consistent with the HBX Compliance Policies, will report on compliance matters to the General Counsel.
- Consistent with the HBX Compliance Policies, all HBX employees are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable nondiscrimination laws.
- HBX will provide notice of these policies to enrollees, applicants, and members of the public in publications and communications and through other communication methods, including, but not limited to, on HBX websites and at outreach events.